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Economist: Cotton acreage expected to grow in 2017

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According to Clemson University economist Nathan Smith, South Carolina cotton growers should see a better year in 2017.

Smith“Right now, the outlook for cotton going in to 2017 is an improvement over 2016 in terms of price,” Smith said at the South Carolina Cotton Growers’ annual meeting in Santee. “The overall expectation is for cotton acreage to increase across the Cotton Belt, especially the mid-South and Texas. Hopefully, we’ll see more cotton acres in South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.”

Figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the 2016 South Carolina cotton crop show 190,000 acres were planted, with 184,000 acres harvested. The cotton yield in South Carolina in 2016 was 678 pounds per acre and 260,000 bales were produced.

In addition to an increase in acreage, Smith said prices also are expected to increase.

“With cotton trading in the low 70-cent range right now, that’s encouraging growers to look a little stronger at planting cotton this year instead of corn and soybeans,” said Smith, adding he doesn’t expect any peanut acreage to be planted in cotton.

Smith is an extension professor at Clemson’s Sandhill Research and Education Center in Columbia.

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